I often see people asking where to buy lolita, online and in real life. I do think I know enough about that subject to give a few tips and talk about some places/sites I find are good or even the ones you need to avoid at all costs.
Where to buy NEW lolita clothes?
Of course, the first place to think about for brand new clothes are the brands online and physical stores. Those are safe, even though I heard of some problems from time to time. It never happened to me, everything always went perfectly well.
The ones I dealt the most with are Angelic Pretty. I dealt with the online international store and the USA one. Both were great. Shipping was a bit expensive for both though. It was 30$ minumum, even if I only bought jewelry or socks. So it isn't worth it if you just want a pair of socks or a ring, you better wait a bit and buy several things to make the shipping worth it too.
Overall the items are overpriced, I think we all know it by now. But I never found any other place with similar quality yet (I'm talking about offbrand, not the other brands since I didn't try them all yet). There's always all sort of sweet details you will only see when you get the dress in real, and in my opinion it is worth it.
List of brand sites:
Angelic Pretty International
Angelic Pretty San-Francisco
Baby the Star Shine Bright
Alice and the Pirates
Metamorphose Temps de Fille
Tokyo Rebel (they sell a variety of Brands)
Another popular shop with less expensive new lolita clothes would be Bodyline. When the quality is a hit or miss, you can still get great stuff from there if you search long enough. There is a physical shop that exists, maybe more than one too. But none of them are situated in North America. The shipping there is quite decent since it is fixed. They did have some time where there was a promotion and you could get a really small shipping fixed fee. I do regret not buying during that period.
The items are not very expensive, but sometimes the JSKs are overpriced for their quality (ie. 70$). It is a good site to buy blouses and shoes though. Buying a 120$ pair of shoes directly from brands is hardly worth it since these shoes are fragile and won't last very long anyway. Like I said, with Bodyline it is a hit or miss. Out of the 3 I ever got from them, 2 were very nice and only one was so so... (see the 2 dresses above for the nice ones).
Here are some pictures of my own dress. You can see they look pretty decent for 30-40$ each. I'm kinda sad now that I sold the blue one. I might buy it again new (I bought it used last time).
Link to the website:
The next 2 online stores offer an interesting option, which is custom size. I'm happy about this because, like many other girls, I cannot fit in every piece of brand. Yes, they are mostly replicas, I am well aware of that. But let's not debate on it for now. I tried both FanplusFriend and Qutieland. The quality is different for both the dresses I ordered there. But both were accurate to the picture and were of nicer quality than Bodyline. So far, Qutieland was the closest to brand quality. The prices are affordable too. The only downside I found is the making time.
For FanplusFriend, I chose the dress in a premade size so it arrived fast (though with DHL, which I hate) but it came too big for me since I chose and option with 2 inches more than what I needed, which I shouldn't have done. My friend ordered a coat from them and it took a month to make but she was very satisfied with her order.
For Qutieland, it took more than a month to make the dress and ship it since it was during the Holiday season. In fact, it took almost 2 months because of Christmas and New Year's Day.
When the dress finally arrived, I didn't need it anymore since I wanted to wear it for the Holidays... but oh well, I should've planned it way before too. The costumer service was decent and the shipping didn't take too long. I don't remember how much were the shipping costs, but I think it was fair.
Some pictures of the dress I found from my old sale post with this dress.
I think that pretty much sums it for the places where you can get new lolita clothes. But now...
Where to buy USED lolita clothes?
That one is kinda big. There are many places to buy used lolita clothes. But I will only mentions the ones that I either used or that are known for being good places.
First off, there is the EGL Sales Comm. If you are reading this blog you probably came from EGL so I guess you all know that. But still, I really think it's one of the best places to buy. The prices are sometimes really cheap depending on the seller and condition of the dress and it makes it easier to buy brand. I got most of my brand dresses there. Often, the sellers are selling dresses they have worn only once for a lower price or even selling the set for a reduced price. Of course the feedback is really important and you must check it first. Most of the time, people got 100% positive feedback though. Like you probably almost all know, you need to be a Livejournal user and need to be part of the community. You also need to have a feedback page to buy. That's mostly it, quite simple too.
Link to the comm sales: EGL Community Sales
Another site I use often is Fairy-Angel. You won't get any good deals there though, and that is the downside. The prices are fair though. Why I go there if the prices are high/normal? Well, the good thing is that they often restock on rare pieces that are hard to find on the sales comm. Most of my favorite items that I couldn't find anywhere else come from there. Another thing thta I dislike though is the shipping cost. It is also a 30$-ish set price. It is rarely worth it for me since I often buy only one item at a time. But if I was buying more it would be decent. The communication with them is pretty hard since you need to speak Japanese... which I don't. Fortunately I never got a problem with them. It did take some time once before my item got shipped (1 week) but it the shipping is very fast! It always took around 3-5 days for me to receive the items once they were shipped. You need to have an account there to be able to see the 'member prices' and be able to buy. They offer clothes from a wide variety of brands, but mostly restock AP, BTSSB since they probably receive more items from these then the others.
A site I often hear about is Closet Child. I saw that you can order directly from the shopping cart but I am still unsure on how to proceed exactly since I never ordered from there. I often see good reviews about them though. They seem to have a lot of nice stuff and I know they actually are a shop in Japan (in Harajuku I believe). There you can sometimes get good deals, as I've seen some prices from sold out items which were fairly cheap. They seem to restock pretty often too, but their stock always goes sold out quickly. It is certainly worth checking out. They offer a wide variety of brands too, like Fairy-Angel.
The last one I can think of is your local community if you have one. There are always members selling stuff and you can avoid shipping when you pick it up in your city. I didn't buy often from my comm, but I did get my memorial cake set from a girl there. I was very happy to only go on a small subway ride to get it instead of paying 30$+ for the shipping.
Some honorable mentions
You can also buy lolita on ebay. It is not always safe, especially when it comes to brand. You never know if it really is the real thing or not. There are a lot of replica marked as genuine brand. But I find there is a good shop for cute stuff called Wai1222 Collection (the seller is Girldorock). They sell gothic/punk/lolita. I used to buy there before I was lolita and always got a very good service. The last I bought from them was a lolita coat. It was a RQ-BL black coat with rabbit ears. While it really is not the best quality, it is so warm and comfy that I wear it even when I'm not dressed in lolita. It can go to minus 20 degrees Celsius and even less if you wear something hot underneath, which is pretty convenient for a lolita coat!
Shop link: http://stores.ebay.com/wai1222collection
There is also Refuse to be Usual on ebay. I never ordered there but they do sell cute stuff and decora/lolita/gothic clothes. It is really similar to the previous one I mentioned. The feedback seems to be similar too.
Shop link: http://stores.ebay.com/REFUSE-TO-BE-USUAL
There are also some sellers on Etsy that makes wonderful lolita jewelry and accessories! I never actually bought on etsy but I sometimes directly bought from some of the users on EGL that have a shop there. I believe there is a list for that on EGL... yes indeed I found it!
Here is the giant list of Etsy sellers from EGL: http://egl.livejournal.com/15142638.html
I'm taking Alice Doll as an example here because I really like her fur collars, I wish I could get my hand on one soon.
There is a place to buy secret shop shoes and some other replicas. Most lolitas buy their tea parties there. I ordered some boots, but the release date is still not announced so I'm still waiting on them and cannot really say yet what I think about the site. But seeing so many people getting their lolita shoes there, I'm assuming it is a good site. It is called Clobbaonline. You actually need to download a form, fill it and send it back in an email to order. It is easy and they reply very fast! Their costumer service so far was nice.
There is also one big place I didn't talk about. It is Taobao!
I am really not familiar with this auction site. I do have friends who used it in the local community, but I am not confident enough yet to use it. You need to use a shopping service to bid there and buy stuff. Sometimes you can get brand for ridiculous prices though. I once approached a shopping service for a Milky-chan coat, they took around a day or 2 to reply and were very nice but as they replied with the details of the auction I saw that the size wasn't fitted for me so I needed to let it go sadly. When I'll know more about Taobao and actually order from it I will probably make a review here, but for now let,s just say that there are a lot of tutorials on how to buy there already. You can go check them out and also see which shopping service has the best reviews too.
I would also like to mention some real life shops where I go often to get some offbrand stuff.
There is Forever21 that often sells loliable clothing/accessories. Just last week I bought this cute cardigan online (the shop is far from my appartment).
You can also easily go to the dollar shop or an accessories shop like Ardene (is there Ardene outside of Canada?).
I also found that H&M often sells cute accessories in the kids's section. There is also a large choice for cardigans too.
All these stores are affordable and easy to go to if you live in a big city.
Places where NOT to buy from!
There are some horror stories going around about some site. Yeah, I'm talking about you Milanoo! They mainly are a site that is selling lolita clothes for cheap. But there is a catch. The quality is horrible, it is more than a hit or miss. It is a miss most of the time! If you search for reviews on them you will find an awful lot of sad and frustrating stories, even about their regular clothes, not only for the lolita ones. I'll skip the details on how they try to make us buy their stuff and only try to list all their sites, because they do have more than one hidden under different names.
Here's the black list:
You can actually see more information on even their LJ accounts on this post on EGL:
This is the only main site that I know is really bad in almost every possible way. There is still ebay that you have to be careful with, but not everything there is bad.
I think this is mostly covering everything I know about buying lolita clothing. I surely have forgotten a lot of things. I've been writting for hours now so I think I'll simply call it a day, relax a bit and go to bed to be ready for work tomorrow!
Hope this post can be useful to some fellow lolitas.
Thanks again for reading my blog!